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Author Topic: Conserving energy  (Read 5114 times)

cranioscopical

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Conserving energy
« on: September 19, 2007, 06:20:14 PM »
With all the buzz about global warming and energy conservation, I wonder what positions members here are taking.
I see that a lot of us leave our computers running 24/7 for example.

Personally, I have mixed feelings about the situation. The principle is fine. The implementation leaves something to be desired.
Here's where I'm at.

1) I've replaced all of the incandescent light bulbs in my house with low-energy bulbs.
Pros:
Certainly saves some power, which is good for the community. That's fine because it's not all about what's in it for me.
Cons:
The initial outlay was considerable (over 100 incandescent bulbs were changed).
I honestly doubt that I'll see a financial return.  That's because the quoted life of low-energy bulbs is totally inaccurate.  Within 2 years, 5 of my '6-year' bulbs have failed.

2) I've lowered the level of my heating and raised the level of my cooling.
Pros:
Saves some money.
Cons:
Takes a lot of acclimatization.

3) I've changed the big (old) second fridge that I keep in my basement for a new low-energy model.
Pros:
Saves some energy.
Cons:
Long payback period.  Realistically it'll be about 6-8 years to reach the break-even point.

4) Sometimes I now turn off my computers overnight.
Pros:
Small energy savings.
Cons:
A distinct sense of unease   :)

Lashiec

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Re: Conserving energy
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2007, 06:53:03 PM »
Low-energy bulbs have one caveat that people (despite it's been told a thousand times) don't seem to remember: those bulbs should be used in places where the light is always (or during a lot of hours) on. It's not worth the money savings (the energy savings is another story) to have low-energy bulbs in the bathroom, for example, where you're going in and out constantly. It's really useful in the kitchen or in the house entrance (outside) though, as those lights are always on at night. Also, another places where you should never use of these bulbs it's in your main desk, as the light emitted by those bulbs is not exactly easy on eyes, for that one you should use a natural light bulb (the crystal is blue).

In your case, you should use less light bulbs ;D. OK, as for the computer, I always turn it off when I'm not home or I'm sleeping. Nobody is attending the computer, the computer is not doing anything, so I find it a waste of energy, money and a stress for components to have it on at all hours (and a nuisance when I'm sleeping). The level of heating, we always take care of having a good level, if it's very cold, we opt for using more clothes to face the low temps. We don't use air conditioners, so no problem there. We really need to change some of the appliances, as most are not A classified, so they waste lots of energy (besides, they need a change).

More things. Well, turn everything off when you're not going to use it. Don't use the car until it's strictly necessary. Actually, I have a book here that the government distributed for free with the newspapers, with tons of tips. It's not that we need them, my family has been pretty ecological from some time now, way before all the global warming craze started :)
« Last Edit: September 21, 2007, 03:18:24 PM by Lashiec »

cranioscopical

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Re: Conserving energy
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2007, 07:54:59 PM »
Point taken, but we don't have them all turned on at once (!), and in a lot of the house we have fluorescent fittings.  :)

Laughing Man

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Re: Conserving energy
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2007, 08:26:45 PM »
I usually turn off my computer when it's not doing anything. But if I have it doing something (say downloading or uploading something) I'll leave it on and online.

Though I'm friends with an architecture major and she's going help me design and build an eco friendly house (building green). I got some great inspirating from visiting the Cheseapeak Bay Foundation HQ back in high school.

Perry Mowbray

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Re: Conserving energy
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2007, 10:14:48 PM »
With all the buzz about global warming and energy conservation, I wonder what positions members here are taking.

Anything we do is not because of Global Warming, I'm more interested in Resource Efficiency or a moral use of resources. What we're using at current rates is not sustainable and probably not fair either (just look at what Australia is doing to East Timor!).

The cause of Global Warming is still debated. Available resources are not (unfortunately), well, the availability of oil is debated with the relative interest in Peak Oil. Actually, Peak Oil is also debated across East-West lines: The Russians developed a theory after Stalin that Crude Oil is a renewable resource, known as Abiotic Oil.

Wouldn't that be strange if it turned out that Crude Oil was Abiotic and renewable? That would have serious consequences for Global Warming (if global warming is affected by the burning to crude oil).

In many ways it doesn't really matter: we can't keep increasing in the use of oil as we'll surpass the ability for Abiotic Oil to generate, creating a peak (or is that plateau??).

So where are we at??

Oil is incredibly precious: so we don't drive if we don't have to; we've reduced our car "fleet" down to just one (thanks to a local job and the kids leaving home).

But Oil is not just petrol. Oil is used in just about every facet of our lives, so we also try and reduce the use of plastics, fertilisers, buy local goods not transported, etc.

Water is probably even more precious! We've got flow limiters on showers, taps, etc and public floggings for long showers!  ;) A rainwater tank would be a good idea but not economically viable at the moment (although I'm sure price rises will change that - the price of our water is relatively cheap and doesn't reflect its true cost).

Electricity in Australia is generated by burning coal (well something like 93%). I can't remember our coal reserves but they are vast (but wont last forever). We have Micro-fluorescents (with mixed effects: you're right Lashiec, just replaced a bulb the other day that only lasted a year!) and try to turn things off when not in use.

Recycle everything we can, compost what can't be recycled, sell or give to a good home anything else... and never go to the rubbish tip  :D

iphigenie

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Re: Conserving energy
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2007, 09:49:44 AM »
Actually we replaced all our lightbulbs with good energy saving bulbs and we noticed a very noticeable drop in our electricity bills. And none of my bulbs are on all the time.

Now there seems to be a huge difference between the energy saving bulbs you can buy in the supermarket, which here still seems to have a startup delay, wobbly light quality etc. and the bulbs I have bought online from online shops or ebay. Only the other week I was moving to a new flat (workweek residence) and changing bulbs so I picked what looked like the same philips lightbulbs which i have used in some places in our main house. The bulbs bought in the supermarket would take several seconds and flickers to turn off and were distinctively darker.

I went to ebay and bought some philips lightbulbs to see if I was mad. But no, these turn on immediately and are brighter (for the same wattage). I wonder why the supermarkets seem to be selling the 5-years-back technology.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2007, 09:51:17 AM by iphigenie »

Perry Mowbray

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Re: Conserving energy
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2007, 10:30:22 AM »
I wonder why the supermarkets seem to be selling the 5-years-back technology.

Maybe we should lobby for Use By Dates on Non-Perishables??  ;)

cranioscopical

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Re: Conserving energy
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2007, 01:17:59 PM »
I went to ebay and bought some philips lightbulbs to see if I was mad. But no, these turn on immediately and are brighter (for the same wattage). I wonder why the supermarkets seem to be selling the 5-years-back technology.

That's interesting, I should try that myself. It's annoying to try to move forward when the result sometimes feels like a step backward.
Also, the short life of some 'long-life, low-energy' bulbs calls an energy pay-off into question when one considers manufacturing consumption.

Anything we do is not because of Global Warming, I'm more interested in Resource Efficiency or a moral use of resources.

Same here...to an extent but GW is forcing more attention to the issues.  We've been doing what we can (perhaps more accurately want to do) for the past couple of decades but we're not selfless enough to live at a level that we consider to be uncomfortable.


iphigenie

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Re: Conserving energy
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2007, 05:35:38 AM »
Yes, there is a risk that the whole current Global Warming bandwagon makes everything about grams of carbon and not about sustainable living.

Dont worry about polluting, ruining resources, or toxic/unhealthy substances in your food/product. Just pay someone to plant trees or offset in some way and you can claim to be carbon neutral, and appear green.